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A month after Ida’s landfall, Louisianians decry ‘Third World’ conditions By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rosie Verdin, along with her daughters Gabrielle Rosenberger (middle) and Nathanie Verdin, pose for a photo on the porch of Rosie’s mobile home in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, on October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brad Brooks

Brad Brooks

CROZIER. La. (Reuters) – Bruce Westley stood in front of his mobile home and pointed to a small, lime-green tent, two chairs, and a 30 quart aluminum pot atop a propane burner.

According to the disabled Navy veteran, 65 years old, “For more that a month, it’s been in our bedroom, living room, and kitchen,” Christina, his wife and he are just two of thousands of people in southeast Louisian who have been struggling for more than a month since Hurricane Ida devastated the Cajun Country.

Reuters spoke with over 40 people in the Bayous of Terrebonne, Jefferson, Jefferson, and Plaquemines parishes, which were hard hit recently. All of them felt neglected by federal and state officials. Some said that they received no support at all from the government.

Westley stated, “We cannot continue living like this.” Man, we just need anything to lift us off the ground.

It looked like Ida had just rolled in to most of the areas. Many people who have seen the storm many times claim that they haven’t ever witnessed anything like it.

FEMA spokesmen said that the agency is working fast. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Monday’s announcement of a temporary sheltering programme supported by FEMA said that trailers would be brought into hardest-hit regions to help alleviate housing shortages.

Both the human suffering and piles of rubble are a testimony to the enormous strain that public and private funds can take in an area prone to hurricanes. Questions arise about how America will deal with climate change as a more severe normal.

Reuters didn’t see heavy machinery or trucks. Neither did workers who helped people remove rubble from their homes and to recover belongings. Only law enforcement personnel and FEMA staff processing disaster claims were present. It has been this way since Ida struck land on Aug. 29, killing 26 residents.

Tents housed hundreds of people including children and elderly. Some were living in severely damaged homes where mold was growing, which could have serious allergic reactions and impact on respiratory health.

Most grocery stores and restaurants, as well as other businesses are still closed. Many people still lack power and have no access to water or sanitation services.

Communities are working together despite the challenges. Two blocks away from Westley’s camp, the Howard Third Zion Travelers Baptist Church (NYSE:) Baptist Church has volunteers who say they have provided meals for 1,000 families every day. The church’s south-facing wall was destroyed by Ida.

Do you want to learn more about what is happening in order to support these people’s efforts? Talisa, an activist from the historically Black community who coordinates the distribution of food, said that it was pretty much nothing. There aren’t any federal or state troops on the ground who can help. It looks like someone from the Third World has been trying to assist down here.

Clark was forced from her Houma home after it suffered extensive damage and she is now staying with family members.

The request for comments was not answered by the parish officials of Terrebonne and Jefferson.


John Mills (Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA) spokesman at Galliano support center in Louisiana. He said that he sympathizes with the pain of Ida survivors.

He stated that families and communities would have to make difficult decisions about rebuilding – or whether they should rebuild at all.

FEMA has made it possible for people to rent houses for at least 2 months. FEMA also paid nearly 8,000 families hotel expenses as of Monday. It estimates that it has spent $30 million on hotel expenses.

This plan is likely to work in most cases. “But the scale of Ida’s damage is such that there’s not enough housing stock and there aren’t any hotel rooms available,” Tanner Magee, state representative from Terrebonne, said.

Magee stated that while state and parish governments have taken over the responsibility of cleaning up trash, they have had difficulty deciding where to put it. For areas with severe damage, more people and trucks are needed.

Magee, his family and friends, live in Houma. They are currently staying at his Ida-damaged house.

Magee stated, “If there is constant destruction all around and it doesn’t stop going away, then it beats down upon people.” “I worry about the mental well-being of people.”

Magee is among others who say they are in urgent need of temporary FEMA trailers. FEMA states that this can take several weeks and that it is difficult for temporary shelters to be provided during hurricane season due to federal and state regulations.

FEMA and the Small Business Administration have paid over $1.1 Billion for Ida damages so far. Most of this has been through grants to homeowners along with FEMA’s flood insurance program. CoreLogic estimates that there are more than $19 trillion in uninsured losses. The majority of the damage is located on the coast of Louisiana, followed by the rest of the state and all of the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Another $21 billion could be in property damage.


Maria Molina of Galliano hand-washed shorts and shirts for Julia, her seven-year-old girl, and Leonardo, her grown son.

“I’m not working, and I don’t have any money. And we are out of food. She said that she didn’t know where to take her mobile home. It was now in ruins with its foundation and roof damaged.

Molina was waiting to hear if she would be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Rosie Verdin (73), stood behind her tribal headquarters in United Houma Nation, on her tilted porch.

Verdin stated that Ida was destroyed by the most severe storm she had ever seen. About three-quarters of her 19,000 tribe members witnessed their homes being destroyed or made uninhabitable.

She stated, “But there’s nothing that can drive us away from this land.” “With or with out help, we will rebuild and remain right here.”